I realized this morning that my time now belongs to Kira. If she woke up all my usual rituals would have to be adjusted, and so it will be for as long as she is dependent on me to serve her every need. The feeling that coursed through me when I realized this was energizing. It is good to be needed. It is wonderful to be nurturing a young one again. It was 7:30 when I was just making a list and I heard a baby shout. It wasn’t a cry, but more like an exclamation. I sprinted up the stairs because I didn’t want her to cry because she woke up in a portable crib that she’s never seen before and when I found her she was rolling around cooing and giggling. Emily got up and we shared the sweetness of her morning face. We gave her a bath for the first time in a big bathtub rather than a plastic baby tub. She loved it. In fact she protested when we pulled her out.
I experimented with her hair for the first time. Someone had put a little horn straight up in the center of her forehead. (a single braid sticking straight up) I put coconut scented detangler all through her hair and did my best to undo her horn. I tried to pick through the mess that is still there and I had very little success. Please imagine the finest gauge wire and then wrap it tightly around a needle, then put millions of them on her head and let them intermingle. That’s what I’ve got to work with here. I failed to comb it, but that doesn’t mean she has to look poorly, so I clipped two cute purple bows on each side. I’m going to get some help from the Aunties at the baby home.
Emily and I sterilized bottles as a last minute thought. I’ve never made a bottle before! I was sure she would howl for her bottle but she was patient with us. Emily gave her the bottle on the balcony in the fresh cool morning air. We then fed her a little cereal with mixed pears, put a pretty dress on her in time to greet her brothers.
The boys woke up for school but lingered over their breakfast because Kira was entertaining them with her happy and playful antics. It was a delight to see her seated on the sofa between Kevin and Jack as they entertained her without a prompt. I hurried around like a new mom to pack up her things for a day out. The driver picked us up to go for passport photos. Driving through town takes a long time and a lot of patience. The roads are made to last two years so the potholes appear after the rains. Some are so deep they could do well as a pond. I learned that no one pays income taxes here or on property or for shopping. When I told them how much we pay in taxes he said, “then you should have the good roads.” It’s true, you can’t keep all your money to yourself and have good roads.
Once our passport pictures of baby Kira were in hand we went to the International Organization of Migration to have her medical exam for her visa. We had an appointment and we were a little late, but I figured it was Uganda time so this would not be a problem. It was. They had left. Olive called and said that the nurse was coming back. We sat outside on a wooden bench against a cement wall waiting for the doctor to return for an hour. Kira never fussed. The nurse came, worked on our papers and told us the doctor didn’t show up today. I said, “but I had an appointment”. She said, “yeah, but he didn’t come in, come back on Monday but there will be a crowd so be ready for that.” Great.
My mom spent most of the day babysitting the children of the other family who is a two year old boy from the baby home. They brought their four year old and two year old. It’s really a hardship to do business errands with little ones in tow so my mom gave them the day off. I think that was a nice way to help that family.
We had to leave Kira at the baby home tonight because we are leaving at 6:am to drive up to the Murchison Falls game preserve and spend the night at Paraa Lodge for both a Nile cruise and a game park drive. We’ll return Thursday night. Everyone is electric with excitement for their first safari. We will copy exactly the trip our group did last year. It is a special treat for me to share this with my family. But there’s a substantial piece of me that is tethered here to Kira. It’s going to tear me somewhere tender to leave her for two days. Once we get back on Thursday night I hope I won’t be apart from her again.
Thanks again for all of your encouraging words. We love knowing you are with us here as we become a family of seven!